In February about 150 Lehighton area public and private, elementary, middle and senior high school students rose to the challenge of the 2011 Lehighton Area Presidents' Day Drawing and Essay Contests.

Elementary school students created original artistic drawings of holiday-related subjects such as George Washington and other Founding Fathers, while middle school and senior high students wrote essays, on their choice of three specified topics related to the founding principles of our nation.

The level of interest and understanding was higher than expected and there were so many worthy entries that the panel of impartial nonpartisan judges (with relevant degrees and teaching experience) worked many hours examining and comparing all the entries.

The first prize in the elementary school drawing contest went to Megan Dubble, a second grader at Mahoning Elementary; and public school students Tyler Shupp and Kathryn Serfass were judged the first and second runners-up.

The first prize in the essay contest for middle and senior high students went to Kirk Arner, a senior at Lehighton Area High School; and Marcus Kunkle and Megan Alyssa Nanovic, also public school students, were judged the first and second runners up.

Contest rules specify that the first prize winner of the drawing contest will be awarded a $100 bond and the first prize winner of the essay contest will be awarded a $150 bond, both supplied by the sponsor of the contest this year: the Lehighton Area Republican Club.

The prizes will be presented formally at the next meeting of the Lehighton Area School Board, taking place this month at the Carbon Career and Technical Institute in Jim Thorpe, on March 28.

The Lehighton Area Republican Club feels that everyone did well, and thanks all the students who chose to participate and all the teachers and other personnel at the various schools who informed the students about the contest.